"Merla Sri Lakshmi Sunita has completed her PhD in 2010 at the age of 29 years from Department of Genetics, Osmania University, Hyderabad. She was awarded Dr. D.S. Kothari Postdoctoral fellowship from University Grants Commission, New Delhi and pursuing postdoctoral studies at Centre for Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad. She has published six papers in reputed national and international journals."


"In the present study, 44 diverse arsenic-resistant bacteria were isolated through serial dilutions on agar plate with concentrations ≥0.05 mM of sodium arsenite and ≥10 mM of sodium arsenate from Mandovi and Zuari estuarine water systems. The ars genotype characterization in 36 bacterial isolates (resistant to 100 mM of sodium arsenate) revealed that only 17 isolates harboured the arsA (ATPase), B (arsenite permease) and C (arsenate reductase) genes on the plasmid DNA. The arsA, B and C genes were individually detected using PCR in 16, 9 and 13 bacterial isolates respectively. Molecular identification of the 17 isolates bearing the ars genotype was carried using 16S rDNA sequencing. A 1300 bp full length arsB gene encoding arsenite efflux pump and a 409 bp fragment of arsC gene coding for arsenate reductase were isolated from the genera Halomonas and Acinetobacter. Phylogenetic analysis of arsB and arsC genes indicated their close genetic relationship with plasmid borne ars genes of E. coli and arsenate reductase of plant origin. The putative arsenate reductase gene isolated from Acinetobacter species complemented arsenate resistance in E. coli WC3110 and JM109 validating its function. This study dealing with isolation of native arsenic-resistant bacteria and characterization of their ars genes might be useful to develop efficient arsenic detoxification strategies for in situ bioremediation of arsenic contaminated aquifers."